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Forbes reporter Michael Bernick spotlights Ultranauts, founded by Rajesh Anandan ’95 SM ‘96 and Art Shectman ‘95, which provides software testing services, quality engineering and test automation, data governance, and a recently launched suite of AI products to improve employee performance. The company employees people in 30 states, “75% of whom are neurodivergent.”


Prof. John Gabrieli speaks with GBH host Jeremy Siegel about his research showing that standard autism diagnostic tests often prevent women and girls from receiving proper diagnosis and proper treatment. “It’s only in recent years that we've understood that autism can be expressed quite differently in females,” says Gabrieli. “And we need to know that so they get the right kind of help.”

Scientific American

MIT researchers have found that standard autism diagnostic tests could be “stymieing discovery of sex differences in autism,” reports Ingrid Wickelgren for Scientific American. “To qualify for the study, prospective participants had to take a standard activity-based assessment for autism to confirm their diagnosis,” says Wickelgren. “After testing, half of the 50 girls and women who would otherwise be eligible for the scientists’ study did not meet the test’s criteria for autism.”

HealthDay News

A study by MIT researchers finds that the screening test used for autism creates a gender gap that impedes diagnosis and treatment for women and girls, reports Sydney Murphy for Health Day. The researchers found that “a screening test often used to decide who can take part in autism studies seems to exclude a much higher percentage of women than men,” writes Murphy.

The Hill

A new study by MIT researchers finds that women being excluded from studies on autism can hinder diagnoses and the development of useful interventions for women and girls, reports Gianna Melillo for The Hill. “Female diagnoses could be missed altogether and an already small pool of study subjects is further reduced,” writes Melillo.

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have developed a new computational model that could be used to help explain differences in how neurotypical adults and adults with autism recognize emotions via facial expressions, reports Tony Ho Tran for The Daily Beast. “For visual behaviors, the study suggests that [the IT cortex] pays a strong role,” says research scientist Kohitij Kar. “But it might not be the only region. Other regions like amygdala have been implicated strongly as well. But these studies illustrate how having good [AI models] of the brain will be key to identifying those regions as well.”

Scientific American

Writing for Scientific American, Pamela Feliciano spotlights how a study by Prof. Pawan Sinha examined the predictive responses of people with autism. Sinha found that people with ASD had very different responses to a highly regular sequence of tones played on a metronome than those without ASD. While people without ASD ‘habituate’ to the sequence of regular tones; people with ASD do not acclimate to the sounds over time.”


A new center established at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research is aimed at accelerating the development of novel therapies and technologies, writes Katie Jennings for Forbes. The hope is that “we can identify common pathways, either a common molecular pathway that's a chokepoint for a therapy or a common group of neurons or neural systems,” says Prof. Robert DeSimone, director of the McGovern Institute.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Felice Freyer writes about the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Center for Molecular Therapeutics in Neuroscience, which was established at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research thanks to a $28 million gift from philanthropist Lisa Yang and MIT alumnus Hock Tan ’75. “The center will develop tools to precisely target the malfunctioning genes and neurons underpinning brain disorders,” writes Freyer.


Researchers from MIT and other institutions have developed a new model for autism research that could enable new therapies and treatments, reports the Xinhua news agency. The model could “provide a basis for a deeper understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of autism and the development of more transformative therapeutics.”


Forbes reporter Samar Marwan speaks with Rana el Kaliouby, CEO and cofounder of the MIT startup Affectiva, about her work developing new technology that can read human facial expressions. Marwan explains that el Kaliouby and Prof. Rosalind Picard started developing the technology at MIT, “to focus on helping children on the autism spectrum better understand how other people were feeling.”

BBC News

BBC Click reporter Gareth Mitchell speaks with postdoc Oggi Rudovic about his work developing a system that allows autism therapy robots to help teach children how to decipher different emotions. Rudovic explains that the technology can “assist the therapist and also to make the whole therapy process engaging for the child.”

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter David Grossman writes that MIT researchers have developed a new system that helps robots used in autism therapy better estimate how engaged a child is during an interaction. Grossman explains that, “using the personalized algorithm, the robot was able to correctly interpret a child's reaction 60 percent of the time.”


Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder of MIT spinoff Affectiva, speaks to Asma Khalid from WBUR’s Bostonomix about her company’s work making tech devices that are more emotionally intelligent. “We envision a world where our devices and our technologies are emotional-wear,” says el Kaliouby. “They can sense and respond to your emotions in real time in a way that makes the interaction more positive.” 

Boston Herald

Boston Herald reporter Jordan Graham writes that the McGovern Institute has established a new center focused on autism research, thanks to a gift from Lisa Yang and Hock Tan ’75 SM ’75. Graham explains that the center will “focus on trying to make significant jumps through new technologies such as gene editing with CRISPR/Cas9.”